Tuesday 31 December 2019


(for Catriona)

A new year has begun: after the years
Of human patience, folly and endeavour -
Salted with sea-spray, human blood, and tears -
Which had their spring-tide but have ebbed forever.
Fragments of lives, famous, worthwhile or dull
Strand on the shifting dunes we call "today";
We beach-comb through sea-sculpted drift to cull
Some shards we dignify as "history".

But through the moon-tossed sea and wind-blown sand
Pierces the Rock: we turn as do the tides
But Christ remains. We may not understand
Yet apprehend that He who now presides
Above the orb of time invaded time
In love that is eternal and sublime.

Catriona, who knows how long after I wrote, this now lectures in history.

Sunday 29 December 2019


The cherubim cry, “Glory!” round the throne;
His holiness is told by seraphim;
While blood-bought grace-supported saints all own,
“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”!

When all around the pilgrim’s path seems grim
We look to Jesus on the father’s throne:
“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”
Who once endured the wrath of God alone.

The richness of His mercy being known
“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”
Who serves as priest before the Father’s throne
To succour us although our light seems dim.

“Blessed are all who have their trust in him”
By whom God’s very nature has been shown,
Who fills our cup of blessing to the brim
And who shall reign “a priest upon a throne”.

Thursday 19 December 2019


How shall this be? the virgin asked

When told of how she had been tasked.

The Spirit Gabriel said, shall be

On thee, and power will shadow thee.

Where is the King? the magi said,

Expecting some soft royal bed;

His star led to the Lord of all

Laid in a manger in a stall.

Who then is this? whispering in awe

Those on the sea with Jesus saw

The calm His speaking spread abroad

And recognised the Son of God.

When shall He die? the world replied,

Only content when Jesus died;

Yet we can gladly understand

The time, and death, were in Gods hand.

Why dost thou weep? The risen Man

In care that was not other than

Care shown before - while now He could

Bring saints into new realms of good.

What shall I do? the jailed called,

Fearing as one whom sin enthralled;

No longer fearful and depraved,

Through faith in Jesus he was saved.

Tuesday 17 December 2019


A paean,
Eruption of soul and spirit,
Touching the King.

Bursting from silence
I prophesy the Coming One,
The Day Spring.

Stolid, a craftsman, why
Choose me as trustee of
The Holy Thing?

Though the weather cuts
And stones abrade,
Nettles and thorns sting

We glory in our pilgrimage
More than in ease
Or governing

Glad to be encumbered  
Gold, frankincense and myrrh  
By gifts we bring.

More than an angel
Redeemed, directed, lightened,
I now can sing.

Friday 13 December 2019


Their illumination constrained
To the sparks they had kindled
Men lay in sorrow: when
Christ came they preferred
The flickering of their caves
Yet we can know in its brightness
The pure illumination
Of the true Light.

A faithful Creator provided
Food for the journey:
They ate, and lived, and died.
But now the Father gives,
As a spiritual reality
For lasting life, lasting substance
And lasting satisfaction
The true Bread.

Once on a fruitful hill,
Dug and relieved of stones,
Was planted that unsatisfactory vine,
Israel, bearer of wild grapes;
Now He stands, to God's satisfaction,
Without earthly moisture,
Clusters ripening into grapes,
Christ, the true Vine.

Blind, and unaware
Of poverty and nakedness,
How could Laodicea give
Testimony? The source of eye-salve,
Of gold and garments speaks:
What words the Amen asserts!
What can He not introduce,
The faithful and true Witness?

What dignity He has
The reality of every type,
The One who supersedes every
Shadow. Who has the right
To the key of David - who
Maintains everything for God,
But the One who can call Himself
The holy, the true?


Friday 6 December 2019

Tuesday 3 December 2019


Hailstones, sleet, lightning-showers:

Man's hatred broke

On one Man

On a cross.

Sheltering walls or roofs

- Family, friendship, nation -


To that Man.

Driving the storm

The icy winds

Of Satan's malice,

Converging on the Man.

But more

The tide of divine wrath

In intensity


One one Man,

Stark on a cross.